Multi-modal Theory & Practice of Crafts

Annotated Bibliography

Cultural transmission and evolution theory frequently emphasizes apprentices’ need for accurate imitation (high-fidelity copying). This study found that, at the level of the elementary clay-deforming gestures, individual learning rather than simple imitation is required for the acquisition of a complex motor skill such as throwing pottery. Overall, these results provide empirical evidence in support of motor behaviour theory’s functional equivalence principle in the domain of pottery handicraft. What we suggest is that the conceptualisation of cultural transmission by way of fidelity-copying poorly grasps these intricate mechanisms of skill learning.

Another grounded theory investigation, this time into knitting communities. In a repeating sequence of data collection and analysis, descriptive codes were slowly compiled, and translated into analytical codes. Conceptual themes of perseverance, obligation and pride and autonomy suggest that what motivates crafters is an escape from “spiritual dyspepsia” that alienated workers often experience.

Researchers used Contextual Activity Sampling System (CASS) and diaries for recording and archiving design behavior in a case study on social/emotional dimensions professional designers’ work experiences. Another case study was autoethnographical research documenting one’s own creative practice. 

Digitizing a medieval stave church offered the opportunity to research how to reduce the loss of information in translations between modes, medias and formats of embodied craft skills and sensory-based judgements. Unity, a physics-based visualization engine, was used to archive and simulate heterogeneous digital material.

Applying the modalities of socialization, externalization, combination and internalization (“SECI”) and the “tripartite theory of knowledge” to researching gardeners’ community of practice allows the research to go beyond mere video recording. “No matter what form of media used, the representation needs a context, otherwise it risks being communicated randomly and thus difficult to find.”

Open, axial and selective coding techniques were used to observe antecedent, situational and regulatory factors applying grounded theory to scholars, practitioners and enthusiasts of craft making.

Slöyd is Exemplified through the four E’s:

  • Embodied
  • Embedded
  • Extended
  • Enacted

Slöyd is claimed in 6 ways:

  1. Situated
  2. Time pressured
  3. Cognitive work Off-loaded onto the Environment
  4. Environment is part of the Cognitive System
  5. Cognition is Action driven
  6. Off-line cognition is body based

On videoing Slöyd:

  • Visual images are produced and consumed in multisensory environments; they stand for the multisensory configurations from which they emerge.
  • Visual images are not simply visual; they are experienced through multiple and intertwined sensory channels.
  • Vision itself is a culturally constructed category, as are sound, smell, taste, and touch.
  • Vision involves more than just looking at images, and visual practices need to be situated as part of multisensory perception.

Court, K. (2020). A grounded theory approach to studying craft: The serious work and leisure of knitting. Craft Research, 11(1), 79–95.
Li, J. (2022). Grounded theory-based model of the influence of digital communication on handicraft intangible cultural heritage. Heritage Science, 10(1), 126.
Seitamaa-Hakkarainen, P., Laamanen, T.-K., Viitala, J., & Mäkelä, M. (2013). Materiality and Emotions in Making. Techne Series: Research in Sloyd Education and Craft Science A, 20(3).
Westerlund, T., Groth, C., & Almevik, G. (Eds.). (2022). Craft Sciences. Kriterium.
Wilson, M. (2002). Six views of embodied cognition. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 9(4), 625–636.
Pink, S. (2011). The SAGE Handbook of Visual Research Methods. SAGE Publications Ltd.
Westin, J., & Almevik, G. (2022). Bringing a building into being: A Virtual Reality Application as a non-traditional research output. Craft Research, 13(2), 285–302.
Westerlund, T. (2022). Knowledge in our hands: Analytical tools for craft knowledge communication. Craft Research, 13(2), 237–259.
Gandon, E., Nonaka, T., Endler, J. A., Coyle, T., & Bootsma, R. J. (2020). Traditional craftspeople are not copycats: Potter idiosyncrasies in vessel morphogenesis. PLoS ONE, 15(9), e0239362.